Amber Taylor had been living in a Missouri motel with her boyfriend, Austin “Wildboi” McCauley, until this week, when he reportedly beat her unconscious with a baseball bat.
Two days later, the 23-year-old took a picture of herself recovering from her injuries and posted it to McCauley’s public Facebook page, calling him out for his abuse and prompting his arrest.
Since its posting online, the photo has accumulated almost 10,000 “Likes” and close to 1,000 comments. Its caption includes the sentence, “I’m not the only girl he’s done this to but I’m not scared anymore I’m going to speak up.”
McCauley has since been arrested and charged with second-degree domestic assault.
In her interview with news station WDAF, Taylor explained she wanted to expose her boyfriend’s true nature to the people who thought they knew him best. “I just wanted his friends to actually see the true him,” she said.
The young mother reports that she’s not only received support from McCauley’s own friends, but also from people across the country. “I’m actually glad that I have people that are writing me and telling me they care. Because being with him, I didn’t get to have any friends.”
This isn’t the first time social media has provided an outlet for a victim in need of support. Earlier this year, 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich violated a court order when she announced the names of her two underage attackers on her public Twitter account. Though the maneuver had her facing contempt charges, Dietrich and her parents reported it was necessary to bring attention to what they characterized as the unfair nature of her trial.
Though public pressure on the court still didn’t result in the attackers receiving jail time, they were sentenced to harsher punishments than were originally conceived before Dietrich went public with their names. And in the melee, the teenager inadvertently rallied a nation’s support, serving as an example of how self-advocacy can facilitate healing.
That may be the take-away for Hillary Adams as well. The disabled daughter of Texas judge, William Adams, Hillary was the subject of her father’s relentless beatings and secretly videotaped one of those incidents. Seven years later, she posted the video online. Though Adams was already grown up and no longer living with her father, she claimed the posting had more to do with holding him personally accountable, even if the law wouldn’t.
Trauma sufferers often report that keeping abuse a secret is a move that backfires, creating a greater sense of personal shame, no matter how blameless they may be. But social media is an accessible avenue they can use to tell their stories, offering survivors the chance to shed their shame and reclaim their dignity.
Do you think social justice can really be achieved with social media? Would you use it to get justice? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
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A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a webeditor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com. Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com